1. Asynchronous hatching has been studied extensively in altricial birds that feed their offspring, but this phenomenon is also known to occur in insects where parents provide food for their offspring.
2. We examined the proximate mechanisms underlying asynchronous hatching in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides, an insect species in which parents feed their offspring.
3. Mean hatching spread was 30 h. As expected if egg-laying was the major proximate mechanism underlying variation in hatching patterns, the duration of the egg-laying period had a highly significant and positive effect on hatching spread. The duration of the egg-laying period was unrelated to clutch size.
4. Hatching spread was slightly but significantly reduced compared with the duration of the egg-laying period, and the last eggs laid by females developed slightly but significantly faster than the first eggs. There was no significant difference in the size of the larvae that hatched from the first and last eggs laid by females.
5. We discuss the value of N. vespilloides and other insects where parents provide food for their offspring as alternative models to birds for the evolution of asynchronous hatching.
- burying beetles
- hatching asynchrony
- parental care
- PUNCTULATUS SCUDDER DICTYOPTERA
- BURYING BEETLES